Local News Headlines 7-14-23

Pretty good thunderstorm we had last night around 7pm. Quite a few of us lost power – a family on Oxford Road in Sebring lost a bit more. Highlands Fire-Rescue crews were called to put a blaze out at a manufactured home on Oxford where flames and smoke were visible upon arrival. No injuries – they say it probably caused by a lightning strike.

It’s budget season, and Highlands County Commissioners have been doing Budget Workshop sessions all week. Property appraiser Raymond McIntire says there’s an eleven percent increase in taxable VALUES this year across the County. The Commission will decide what rate to tax that value AT, but the County’s Budget and Management office has suggested a $17 Million increase in taxes next year. The process continues at the Commission’s regular meeting next week.

Need a job? The School Board still needs teachers for the upcoming school year. Highlands County Schools are currently short 91 teachers for local classrooms this fall – and that’s an increase in vacancies from the 88 openings reported earlier in the summer. They did add seven new teachers at a recent hiring event and plan an online virtual job fair … the schools promise that even with some schedule shifts, they WILL be ready for classes to begin.

Avon Park has finally got an application in for an Airport Improvement Program grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. City Manager Mark Shrader told the City Council this week that he expects questions and clarifications back from the FAA, but – the application is IN.

Wauchula has a Main Street fixture back again as of today. Ribbon cutting time for the Main Street Bistro Bar is today after a total revamping after Hurricane Ian blew through last fall.

If you’ve been wondering why the work on Stryker Road on the County’s north side has taken so long, well – here’s your answer. After the County re-opened the road to traffic a couple months ago, road crews ran into an asphalt shortage. They’ll finally get the materials they need and put the final coat of asphalt on the north side Avon Park throughway during the week of July 31.

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